SAM Collier, a 25-year-old farm machinery business manager from north-west NSW, says agriculture needs to stop being a whinging “boys’ club”.
Instead, farmers need to engage the rest of the community with positive stories and pictures of the great things they do and see on their properties every day.
He was invited to last week’s National Farmers' Federation (NFF) national congress in Canberra to outline a social media campaign he has started to promote agriculture to the wider community.
Mr Collier, manager of the Wee Waa branch of the Case IH dealership, Kenway and Clark, founded the #australianagriculture movement to shift the way agriculture now promotes itself to consumers.
Farmers produced high-quality food and fibre and could be justifiably proud of what they were achieving.
But consumers were mainly seeing and hearing negative stories about agriculture focused on natural disasters like floods and droughts or the claims of noisy critics opposed to things like red meat consumption and intensive agriculture.
Farmers had to stop trying to “fight fire with fire” and collectively change the way their industry was presented to the rest of the community.
“Take a picture of a sunrise, new calves on ground share and share it with the world,” he said.
Farmers can share these kinds of pictures via #australianagriculture’s popular Facebook page.
Mr Collier said agriculture was a business and had to start acting like one.
“We aren’t a charity. We have to believe in what we do.”
Mr Collier said the battle waged by farmers to pay their bills, remain profitable and build a legacy for their families was no different to the struggle faced by people in other walks of life.
“Our battle is no more important than anybody else’s,” he said.